Authors Diana Drew and Robert Grayson took an inspiring sojourn as they wrote the new book "Jewish Threads: A Hands-On Guide to Stitching Spiritual Intention into Jewish Fabric Crafts" (Jewish Lights Publishing). Exploring the intriguing stories behind each of the book's 30 Jewish fabric craft projects from throughout the United States and Israel, the authors rediscovered many of the Jewish traditions underlying handmade fabric crafts.


Members of the Temple Beth Shalom Sisterhood will retrace the steps the authors took on the way to this spiritual awakening on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 6:30 p.m., at the Sisterhood Paid-up Membership Dinner, at the synagogue, 193 E. Mt. Pleasant Ave., in Livingston. In a special talk, titled "Jewish Threads: Crafting a Jewish Life," the authors will discuss the spiritual journey they took in writing the book and the Jewish traditions that suffuse these crafts. Jewish cultural heritage will come to life through the stories of these truly fine handcrafted pieces.

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Deep-rooted, spiritual inspirations and religious convictions about life and death, peace and war, birth, marriage, healing, family life, holidays, new beginnings, and how those beliefs influence the work of fabric artists--all are interwoven into the fabric of this book, which takes readers on a journey of sacred creativity. "Jewish Threads" presents an array of fabric craft projects, plus the backstory behind each of the pieces featured in the book--how and why they were made and what sparked the idea for each one. Among the projects spotlighted in the book are tallitot (Jewish prayer shawls) and Torah mantles, shulchan (lectern) covers for the synagogue, Purim puppets, a knit seder plate, an apples & honey Rosh Hashanah challah cover, a ChanuCats quilt for Chanukah, and many more.


A section titled "Inspirations" includes stories of five more projects that inspired the authors to write the book, including a quilted chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy), created collaboratively by members of National Council of Jewish Women, West Morris Section, of which Drew serves as co-president. Grayson, a prize-winning former daily newspaper reporter and magazine writer, also writes books for young adults.


Says Drew, an award-winning writer and book editor, " 'Jewish Threads' brings together the disparate threads of my own life--Judaism and Jewish observance, sewing and knitting, writing and editing--while stitching together the inspiring stories of fabric artists from throughout the United States and Israel. Collectively, these personal stories, and the projects that spring from them, form a patchwork of modern-day Jewish life. The part introductions, written by Robert Grayson, place these crafts in historical perspective, with tales from the Jewish tradition that give these fabric crafts added resonance today."